3/23/2012

This week, my brother I will be reposting some of our favorite blog posts that didn't get enough attention.

Quick note that I'm not going to post our guide for The Hunger Games (2012) since we didn't really get enough comments. But, if you want some good info check out the comments on Monday's post.

From the Asylum, the studio who brought us Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, comes a spiritual sequel titled Megapiranha. I say spiritual sequel, since it doesn't feature the same characters or plot, but it's clearly meant to be a follow-up. After all, how many movie studios have produced two movies about gigantic man-eating fish with the word "mega" in them? Of course, let's be clear that there's a reason this movie went straight to video. It's strictly low-budget B-movie stuff, only for the die-hard sci-fi movie lover, so it's unfair to compare it to something like Avatar. So let's ask this: is it better than Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus? The answer is yes. Sort of. Let's take a look.

The basic plot is that a pack of giant piranha escape from a lab and bring terror along a river in Venezuela. When they kill the US ambassador of Venezuela, square-jawed special agent Jason Fitch (Paul Logan) is sent to investigate. There he clashes with Colonel Antonio Diaz (David Labiosa), a maniacal Venezuelan military commander trying to stop him from uncovering the truth; that the piranha are a genetically-engineered experiment that escaped from a lab. The team of scientists who created the mega-piranha, led by Sara Monroe (Tiffany), race to try to stop the piranha before they reach open water and spread across the world.

The special effects are definitely an improvement over Mega Shark. Whereas that movie recycled its meager CGI shots of the creatures in endless loops, Megapiranha actually has numerous and generous CGI of the killer fish attacking ships, people, and buildings. Yes, buildings. One thing about Megapiranha is that it delivers. The piranha disappointed me at first, starting out merely the size of a small dog. But then it turns out that the mega-piranha double in size with each generation. Throughout the movie, they get bigger and bigger until by the end, the mega-piranha are the size of whales. We see giant piranha attack everything from swimming lovers to a nuclear sub. If all you want is giant fish eating people, this is your movie.

The characters are about as shallow as in Mega Shark, if not slightly better. Sarah Monroe is the standard B-movie rogue scientist that no one believes. But as both the creator and enemy of the mega-piranha, her role is a little more complex than normal with some guilt rolled into her heroism. Yet the hero Jason Fitch is a walking cliche whose sole purpose is to talk in a gruff voice, dress all in black, and perform pedestrian acts like driving cars or scuba diving as if they were death-defying feats. As for the villain, by the end I found Colonel Antonio Diaz more annoying than threatening.

Okay, so how is the actual story? Well, it's hard to say. In the beginning, it's promising, introducing some political commentary with the hostilities between the US and Venezuela serving as a background theme. At one point, Colonel Diaz rants to Fitch about how the US treats Venezuela like a child. I was impressed that they tried to make some sort of statement alongside the blood-filled water. But the Venezuelan storyline becomes a distraction with Fitch spending more time fighting Diaz than the mega-piranha. At one point in the movie, the Venezuelan coast is in chaos with giant piranha leaping from the river, eating people whole, and crashing through buildings. One would think such a threat to his people might snap Diaz out of his vendetta against Fitch, but no. We watch a weak car chase instead, leaving me grumbling, "Get back to the piranha already."

But one thing Megapiranha failed in compared to Mega Shark is logic. As hard as it is to believe, a movie about a giant shark leaping out of the ocean to bite a plane in half made more sense than half the stuff in this movie. For example, the mega-piranha's weakness is vague at best, inconsistent at worst. It makes sense that a shark the size of an ocean liner would be hard to kill, but not a piranha the size of a horse. The lead scientist insists that sensible solutions like dropping bombs or acid on the piranha will only lead to more mutations (without explaining how or why), but minutes earlier Fitch is able to stab a piranha to death with a regular knife quite easily. Then a nuclear bomb leaves the mega-piranha without a scratch, but Finch is able to blow the same mega-piranha in half by shooting a fuel tank in its mouth.

I could go on about the endless and often hilarious plotholes and mistakes in this movie (my favorite was the sign for the Venezuelan airport that was obviously drawn on a piece of paper with a felt-tip marker and stuck on a wall). The bottom line is that Megapiranha is overall better than Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, but that's not saying much. Almost any other movie I can think of would be. So here's my rating.

By the normal standard of movies, this movie is a D+. But by the standard of B-movies: B-

Did you see Megapiranha? Would you see Megapiranha after reading this review?
Originally posted May 2010 by Nigel Mitchell
[Image Source: guardian.co.uk]

2 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If this movie made less sense than a shark leaping out of the water and biting a plane, then it's in trouble!

Nigel Mitchell said...

Amazingly, yes. At least "Megashark" tried to keep things consistent. This movie was all over the place. 

AddThis

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!